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Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party claims victory in municipal elections

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By Mark Armstrong
Ennahda party supporters celebrate victory
Ennahda party supporters celebrate victory

Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party claimed victory in the country's first free municipal elections since the revolution in 2011.

Polling stations closed late on Sunday although the official result was yet to be announced.

A top official from the party said it was more than five percent ahead of its nearest rival, the secularist Nidaa Tounes, although the two parties are coalition partners in the national government.

They had been predicted to dominate the long-delayed polls.

The turnout in the 350 districts was relatively low, according to the Independent High Authority for Elections.

The vote has been touted as another milestone on the road to democracy in the North African country, putting an end to the political transition of the last seven years.

That move towards democracy has been marred by an underperforming economy.

Ennahda said it will continue to govern by consensus with its partners.